"I won't say we should misbehave, but we ought to look as if we could," said Orson Welles.
•A while back I wrote about William J. Mann's excellent and illuminating book, Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood.
This was the story of one of show's biz's most epic crimes, the murder of director William Desmond Taylor in 1922. Although at least three woman -- one of them the famous movie star Mabel Normand -- were suspected -- the case was never solved. (Taylor's death, one of half a dozen lurid scandals of the era, pushed the industry closer to censorship and the Hays Code. As if better behavior onscreen would influence hard-partying stars off-screen.)
Author Mann seems to have solved the crime, and the book is a must-read for movie historians and crime mavens.
Now TV producers Aaron Kaplan and Tracy Katsky are planning to turn Tinseltown into a series for cable. Season One will dedicate itself to the Taylor murder. If the show flies, one can assume the rape trial of Fatty Arbuckle, the poison death of Olive Thomas, Wallace Reid's uncontrollable drug addiction, the high life of Clara Bow and other salacious scandals will be chronicled. There is even some indication that the show will cover scandals of the following decades. I guess that means Errol Flynn, Lana Turner and perhaps Elizabeth Taylor. (Taylor is a "perhaps" because she was involved in two spectacular adultery scandals. These received more coverage than stellar rape charges or a dead gangster in Lana's bedroom. But nobody died, physically. Debbie Reynolds was humiliated, Eddie Fisher lost his career, Sybil Burton suffered tremendously and Richard Burton wondered in time, just what hell he'd gotten himself into.)
And since Tinseltown is to be cable, nothing will have to be implied, all will be revealed -- flesh-wise, anyway.
•You need to be fast on your feet to date Britney Spears. At least that's what Charlie Ebersol thinks. (He is Britney's man of the moment.) So, to better keep up -- and eventually head for the hills? -- Charlie is being trained Olympian Nick Symmonds. Charlie is training to run the 400 meter race once around (on lap around the track) in 50 seconds or less.
As for the handsome Mr. Symmonds, he has a new book, Life Outside the Oval Office: The Track Less Traveled, which details his life, his passion for running and some of the personal experience perks that come with being a sexy athlete. (I'm assuming "Oval" refers in some way to the running track? Unless I somehow missed his presidency.)
He's also promoting something called Run Gum -- a chewy treat that is loaded with caffeine. Good for that starting sprint.
•ALTHOUGH I think Jim Carrey is an underrated serious actor, and can be genius with the right material, he fell on box-office hard times recently. So I guess, for him, it's great that his Dumb and Dumber sequel looks like a hit.
I just hope this pumps up Carrey's career again and he has a chance to show his chops in something worthier of his talents. I mean, I know people love this kind of thing, but...he deserves better. (I have always thought he was robbed of an Oscar nomination for The Truman Show.)
•Received many touching and funny responses to my recent column on Marilyn Monroe. Some people recalled the day of her death. Others, who knew close friends of hers said I "hit the nail right on the head." One person loved the piece but chastised me for not believing Marilyn was murdered.
But the best was from a reader who said: "I wrote a while ago that if I saw one more picture of Marilyn in your column I'd scream. But I still love you and your column."
I wrote back, "Ah, but did you scream?"
My reader replied. "Yes, silently. The best kind."